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THE BIOGRAPHY OF MAHOMET, AND RISE OF ISLAM.
CHAPTER TWENTY-NINTH.

Embassy from Tayif; and Pilgrimage of Abu Bakr.

Ramadhan to Dzul Cada, A.H. IX. December, 630 to March, 631 A.D.

Tayif continues to resist Mahomet's authority

IT was now ten months since Mahomet had raised the siege of Tayif. The citizens were still wedded to idolatry, and they maintained a sullen isolation.

Martyrdom of Orwa. A.H. IX. A.D. 630

Orwa, a chief of Tayif, who will be remembered as one of the ambassadors of the Coreish to the Moslem camp at Hodeibia,1 was absent during the A.D. 630. siege of his native city, having gone to Yemen to be instructed in the use of warlike engines for its defence. On his return, finding that all Mecca and the surrounding tribes, excepting the men of Tayif, had submitted to Mahomet, and being himself favourably impressed with what be had seen of the Prophet at Hodeibia, Orwa went in quest of him to Medina, and there embraced Islam. His first generous impulse was to return to Tayif, and invite his fellow citizens to share in the blessings imparted by the new faith. Mahomet, well knowing their bigotry aud ignorance, warned him repeatedly of the danger he would incur; but Orwa, presuming on his popularity at Tayif, persisted in

1 See above, p.29.


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the design. Arriving in the evening, he made public his conversion, and called upon the people to join him. They retired to consult upon the matter. In the morning, ascending the top of his house, he called out at the pitch of his voice the cry to prayer. Hearing this, the rabble ran together; and some discharged arrows at him, by one of which he was mortally wounded in the arm. his family and friends rallied around him, but it was too late. He had offered up, he said, his blood unto its master for the sake of his people: he blessed God, with his dying breath, for the honour of martyrdom ; and he prayed his friends to bury him by the side of the Moslems who had fallen at Honein. When the tidings reached Mahomet, he lauded the memory of Orwa "He may be compared," was his exclamation, "to the Prophet Yasin, who called his people to believe in the Lord, and they slew him."1

The people of Tayif send an embassy to Mahomet. Ramadhan A.H. IX. Dec. A.D. 630

The martyrdom of Orwa compromised the inhabitants of Tayif, and forced them to continue the hostile course they had previously been pursuing. But they began to suffer severely from the marauding attacks of the Bani Hawazin under Malik. That chief, according to his engagement, 2 maintained an unceasing predatory warfare against them. The cattle were cut off in their pasture lands, and at their watering places; and at last no man was safe beyond the walls of the city.

1 K. Wackidi 61.

2 Above, p.155.


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"We have not strength," they said among themselves, "to fight against the Arab tribes all around, that have plighted their faith to Mahomet, and bound themselves to fight in his cause." So they sent a deputation to Medina, consisting of six chiefs with fifteen or twenty followers, who readied their destination a fortnight after the return of the army from Tabuk. Mughira (nephew of the martyr Orwa),1 meeting the embassy in the outskirts of the city, hastened to announce the approach of the strangers to the Prophet, who received them gladly, and pitched a tent for their accommodation close by the Mosque. Every evening after supper he visited them there, and instructed them in the faith, till it was dark. They freely communicated their apprehensions to him. As for themselves, they declared that they were quite ready at once to destroy their great idol, Taghia (or Lat); but the ignorant amongst the men, and especially the women, were devoted to the worship, and would be alarmed at its demolition. If the idol were left for three years, and the people meanwhile familiarized with the requirements of Islam, the wishes of the Prophet might then without difficulty be carried into effect. But Mahomet would not consent. Two years,--- one year, - six months,- were asked successively, and successively refused. "The grace of one month might surely be conceded;"

1 See above, p.29. He says he was at the time feeding Mahomet's camels, a duty which, it is added, each of his followers performed in turn.


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but Mahomet was firm. Islam and the idol could not co-exist. The idol must fall without a single day's delay. They then begged to be excused performance of the daily prayers, and that some one else might be deputed to destroy the image. "As for the demolition of the idol with your own hands," replied Mahomet, "I will dispense with that; but prayer is indispensable. Without prayer religion would be nothing." "In that case," said they, "we shall perform it, though it be a degradation." They also pleaded hard that the forest of Wajj, a famous preserve for the chase in the vicinity of Tayif, should be declared inviolate. To this Mahomet acceded; and the embassy having finally tendered their allegiance, were dismissed with a rescript to the effect, - "that neither the trees nor the wild animals of Wajj should be intermeddled with. Whoever was found transgressing there should be scourged, and his garments seized. If he transgressed again, he was to be sent to the Prophet. This is the command of Mahomet the Apostle of God."1

Having been admitted to terms their idol Taghia is destroyed by Mughira

Abu Sofian and Mughira, both men of influence with the tribe, were deputed by Mahomet to accompany the strangers, and destroy their idol. Mughira,

1 This rescript is given similarly, both in substance and expression, by Hishami and the Secretary, but is fuller in the former. Hishami 412; K. Wackidi, 56. In both is added, "Khalid ibn Said wrote this by command of Mahomet the Prophet, son of Abdallah: let no one, therefore, wrong his own soul by transgressing that which Mahomet the Apostle of God hath commanded."


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wielding a pick-axe, and surrounded by a guard of armed men from amongst his immediate relatives, proceeded to the work, and, amid the cries and lamentations of the women, with his own hand hewed the image to the ground. The debts of the martyr Orwa were defrayed from the jewels and spoil of the temple.1

Tayif the only place where the destruction of an idol excited sympathy

Tayif is remarkable as the only place where a strong demonstration of popular feeling attended the fate of any of the idols of Arabia. Everywhere else they appear to have been destroyed without sympathy and without a pang.

Mahomet does not go up to the yearly Pilgrimage. Dzul Hijj, A.H. IX March A.D. 631

The sacred season of annual pilgrimage now again drew near. Mahomet had hitherto abstained from being present at its ceremonies because the great mass of the pilgrims were heathens, and mingled idolatrous practices with the holy rites. The same cause kept him away from the present festival. But he resolved that this should be the last in which the pilgrimage would be dishonoured by unworthy customs, and the holy places polluted by the presence of unbelievers. He was now strong enough to banish heathenism entirely and for ever from his native city. When thus purified, the ceremonies might, without compromising his holy office, be performed by himself in the succeeding year.

1 The son and nephew of Orwa had fled to Medina after his martyrdom. Mahomet was prevailed on to allow the debts of the nephew also to be defrayed from the proceeds of the temple.


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Abu Bakr's Pilgrimage the "Discharge" (Baraat) committed to Ali for publication

The caravan of pilgrims from Medina was therefore limited on the present occasion to three hundred men, with Abu Bakr as their chief. Shortly after its departure the opening verses of the Ninth Sura were revealed, with the view of carrying out the object above explained. The passage is styled Baraat, or "liberty," because Mahomet is therein discharged, after the expiry of four months, from any obligations otherwise devolving upon him to wards the heathen Arabs. This important record was committed to Ali, who was despatched after the caravan. When he had reached it and communicated the nature of his errand, Abu Bakr inquired whether the Prophet had put him in command over the pilgrimage. "No," replied Ali, "but he hath directed me to recite this revelation in the ears of all the people."1

Ali publishes the Baraat 10th Dzul Hijj, A.H. IX. 20th March, 631

Towards the close of the pilgrimage, on the great day of sacrifice,2 at the place of casting stones near Mina,3 Ali read aloud to the multitudes who crowded

1 K. Wackidi, 134. According to Hishami, Mahomet said that no one should deliver this revelation to the people but a man of his own family. The reason, however, of his not giving it to Abu Bakr was probably his imperfect scholarship. Hishami, 413.

2 Youm al Nahr. See Burton, iii. 240. That this was in Dzul Hijj, all authorities agree, excepting Mujahid, who says it occurred in Dzul Cada; K. Wackidi, 137 . I shall have to consider this tradition more at length below, in connection with Dr. Sprenger's theory, that the Greater pilgrimage was not confined to Dzul Hijj.

3 Jamra. K. Wackidi, ibid. See Burton, ii.282, and his picture of the spot.


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round him in the narrow pass, the heavenly command, as follows :--

"A DISCHARGE by God and his Apostle, in reference to those of the Idolaters with whom ye have entered into treaty."
"Go to and fro in the earth securely four months. And know that ye cannot hinder God, and that verily God will bring disgrace upon the Unbelievers;-"
"And an Announcement from God and his Apostle unto the People, on the day of the greater Pilgrimage, that God is discharged from (liability to) the Idolaters,- and his Prophet like- wise. Now, if ye repent, that will be better for you ; but If ye turn your backs, know that ye cannot hinder God; and acquaint those who disbelieve with the tidings of a grievous punishment;-"
"Excepting those of the Idolater. with whom ye have entered into treaty, and who thereafter have not failed thee in any thing, and have not helped any one against you. Fulfil unto these their treaty, until the expiration of their term; for God loveth the pious."
"And when the forbidden months have elapsed, then fight against the Idolater:, wheresoever ye find them; take them captive, besiege them, and lay in wait for them in every ambush; but if they repent, and establish Prayer, and give the Tithes, leave them alone, for God is gracious and merciful."
"And if any of the Idolater: ask a guarantee of thee, give it unto him, until he shall have heard the Word of God; then convey him back unto his place of security. This because they are a people that do not understand."
"O ye that believe I Verily the Unbeliever: are unclean. Wherefore, let them not approach the holy Temple after this year. And if ye fear poverty, God will enrich you of his abundance, if he pleaseth, for God is knowing and wise."1

1 Sura, ix. 1-7, and 29. It is not mentioned how far on in the Ninth Sura, Ali was commissioned to read. I have added the last verse, as it contains one of the special orders which Ali was deputed to promulgate. The 18th and 19th verses are something to the same effect, but not so decisive. The verses intermediate


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Ali reiterates the commands of the Prophet

Having finished the recitation of this passage, Ali continued ;- "I have been commanded to declare unto you that no unbeliever shall enter Para- disc. No idolater shall after this year perform the pilgrimage; and no one shall make the circuit of the holy house naked- Whosoever hath a treaty with the Prophet, it shall be respected till its termination. Four months are permitted to every tribe to return to their territories in security. After that the obligation of the Prophet ceaseth."1 between the 7th and the 29th refer to attacking the Idolaters and those who had broken their treaty, to the necessity of preferring "God and his Apostle" before any earthly relation, and to the victory at Honein. Some of these verses, as v.14, which contains an exhortation to fight against those who expelled the Prophet from their city (i.e. the Meccans,) are certainly not applicable to the occasion of Ali's harangue.

The passage which follows the 28th verse relates to the Jews and Christians, and is strongly hostile to them. It can have no connection with the first section, or with Ali's mission, whatever.

It is a patently erroneous conceit of tradition, that this Sura was revealed in one piece, or even in uniform chronological order. The last portion, about Tabuk, appeared, by the testimony of tradition itself, before the first section just quoted.

1 There seems a kind of contradiction between the 1st verse, in which all treaties are cast aside, and the subsequent verse and intimation by Ali that treaties would be respected. Perhaps it was meant that, notwithstanding any treaty, idolaters would be prevented from coming to the Pilgrimage, though the treaty would be in other respects observed. Or it may mean that, although Mahomet had permission given him in the first verse to cast aside treaties with idolaters, yet he nevertheless voluntarily engaged to respect those treaties which had been faithfully kept. The latter interpretation is not so suitable as the other to the style of the Coran.


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The concourse breaks up quietly.

The vast concourse of pilgrims listened peaceably till Ali ended. Then they broke up and departed every man to his home, publishing to all the tribes throughout the Peninsula, the inexorable ordinance which they had heard from the lips of Ali.

The universal annihilation of idolatry, now the declared mission of Islam

The passage just quoted completed the system of Mahomet so far as its relations with idolatrous tribes and races were concerned. The few cases of truce excepted, uncompromising warfare was declared against them all. No trace of idolatry was to survive within the expanding circle of the influence of Islam. And as Islam was the, universal faith intended for all mankind, so its mission was now plainly set forth to be the absolute annihilation of idolatry throughout the world.

and the reduction of Judaism and Christianity to a humiliating and dependent position

In juxtaposition with this passage, though evidently revealed in an altogether different connection, we find the following verses declaratory of the final principles on which the professors of Judaism and Christianity were to be treated. After long neglect and silence, the Coran now notices the Jews and Christians, only to condemn them to a perpetual vassalage:-

"Fight against those who do not believe in God nor in the last day, and who forbid not that which God hath forbidden, and profess not the true religion,- those, namely, who have received the Scriptures,1 - until they pay tribute with the hand, and are humbled."

1Meaning both Christians and Jews.


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"The Jews say that Ezra1 is the Son of God, and the Christians that the Messiah is the Son of God. This is their saying, with their mouths. They imitate the saying of the Unbeliever: before them. God destroy them! How have they devised lying vanities?"
"They have taken their priests and their monks as lords besides God,-and also the Messiah the son of Mary. Yet they were not bidden but to worship one God ; - There is no God but he, far exalted above that with which they associate him!"
"They seek to extinguish the light of God with their mouths. But God refuseth to do otherwise than make his light perfect, even though the Unbeliever: be averse thereto."
"He it is that bath sent his Apostle with the true guidance, and the religion of truth, that he may make it superior to all other religions, even though the Idolaters be averse thereto."
"O ye that believe! Verily many of the Priests and Monks devour the wealth of the people In vanity, and obstruct the way of God. And those that treasure up gold and silver, and spend It not in the way of God, announce unto them a grievous punishment;-"
"On the day on which it 2 shall be heated in the fire of hell, and their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be seared therewith, - This is that which ye have treasured up for yourselves, wherefore taste that which ye have treasured up."3

Contempt with which Judaism and Christianity are case aside

Thus, with threats of abasement and with bitter curses, Mahomet parted finally from the Jews and Christians, whom he had so long deceived with vain professions of attachment to their Scriptures, and from whose teaching he had borrowed all that was most valuable in his own system. Having reached the pinnacle of prosperity and power, he cast contemptuously aside the supports to which in no small measure he owed his elevation.

1 Odzeir, by which name Mahomet meant Ezra.

2 i.e. the gold and silver.

3 Sura, ix. 30-36.


The Life of Mahomet, Volume IV [Table of Contents]

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